It’s Christmas once again, the most wonderful time of peace and joy for all mankind. Naturally. the Speak Freely editors have been writing their wishes to Santa…
1. Please help people to become everyday superheroes. The new Spider-Man movie, which features a hilarious Spider-Man parody Christmas song and a truly heartfelt narrative, concludes with a touching tribute to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. In Lee’s own words “That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed, without a doubt, a real superhero.” So Santa, please help others and myself do what is right, so that we can be superheroes for each other, and ourselves. The cinema concession staffer who neglected to charge me for my sugar tax is a real hero.
2. Save advertisements from the latest political correctness crusade. Stereotypes are not correct, but they have cultural resonance for a reason. Some are more correct than others. Some are based on misunderstandings. Ultimately, advertisers do not want to insult their consumers. If a stereotype is used in an ad, believe first that it is in good faith, and more often than not intended for comedic purposes. How do we define a punishable stereotype? Should Old Spice’s brilliant ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ campaign have been banned because it stereotyped heterosexual women as perhaps liking their partners to smell nice and to look classically handsome and athletic? I fear for many of my female friends when they are forced to watch their Christmas TV.”
“My wish this Christmas is for more people in Northern Ireland to consider new ideas and an alternative to the archaic tribalism that has plagued this society for many centuries. I believe that Northern Ireland has the opportunity of a much brighter future if its inhabitants were to embrace the liberal values of individualism, tolerance and free enterprise. It is increasingly clear that the status quo in Northern Irish politics is failing, as demonstrated by the constant bickering of our politicians who have failed to form a government in almost two years.
We must hope that this turmoil, alongside the growing sense of public dissatisfaction with our elected officials, can bring about meaningful societal change and liberalisation. My wish is for all sections of our society to acknowledge the wide-reaching benefits of discarding the counterproductive mentalities which have for so long hampered our prosperity and development.
I see this as the only way for Northern Ireland to realise its enormous potential and cease to be an economic backwater in relation to other parts of northern and western Europe. To a large extent, there is every reason to be optimistic, as so much has already changed for the better in the past twenty years, yet there is still significant room for improvement.”
All I want for Christmas is for the Irish government to get rid of the depressingly high taxes on
alcohol so I can drown my sorrows more efficiently.
“Christmas is by far my favorite time of the year. It is the time of the year in which it snows outside, when everything is decorated, and Christmas trees are in every living room, and when you hear Wham’s all-time great (yes, really) Last Christmas for the gazillionth time. It is the time when you meet your friends and family, and for once, finally, don’t talk about politics, about whether socialism or fascism is worse or about whether we need a state. It is the time of the year when it doesn’t matter what you think about Trump or Brexit, because you realize that there are more important things in life: the people you love, regardless of their ideology – at least that was the case in the good, old times (and my family has thankfully kept going with this).
Most of all, however, we shall not forget what we are celebrating during those days. Indeed, the birth of Christ is one of the most momentous moments in world history, and it is this what we should think about – and appreciate, during this time of the year. And in the midst of talking with our loved ones, in between the great food (and booze), let’s try to follow more often the example of the Lord’s son, who was born in a shed two millennia ago. Merry Christmas to you all! (Oh, and by the way, dear Lord, please help my beloved Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl! Cheers!)“
“Corny and cliche as it is, the only thing I could say I truly wish for at this time of year is a break from all the hostility. These days, it seems as though politics has devolved into an increasingly tribal, aggressive state of affairs. Chats on hot-topics like Brexit or healthcare have begun to feel far more like I’m being beaten over the head with opinions, rather than anything that could be described as mutually beneficial.
So, this Christmas, all I’d wish for is a political ceasefire, just for as long as it takes for us to remember what it means to respectfully disagree.
Of course, this isn’t to say I’m wishing for the end to all politics. On the contrary; sometimes you just can’t beat a good sparring in a nice cosy pub somewhere. Rather, all I’d put on my Christmas list is a reminder that politics need not be personal, nor must it be so us-versus-them. This Christmas, let’s take a break from the anger, and call a truce amidst all the tribal fighting.”
Speak Freely will return in the new year – Merry Christmas!
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